Converse will hold a celebration to introduce the new School of the Arts on November 18 – 20 at Chapman Cultural Center, featuring a sampling of talents in the visual arts, music, theatre and dance and Converse Opera Theatre’s production of Mozart’s comic opera, Cosí fan tutte (sung in English). Tickets are available at the Chapman Cultural Center Ticket Office online or by phone: 864.542.ARTS (2787). Admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $5 for students with ID and children.
“We are one year into the exciting process of meshing our arts programs into a new School of the Arts,” said Richard Higgs, dean of the School of the Arts. “This launch celebration is a major step toward realizing our goal to engage more deeply with the broader cultural community through partnerships and collaborations. Together, we are sharing the inner-workings and the driving creative forces that are at the core of our shared purpose: to make the life experience of Spartanburg a deeply rewarding one.”
“The characters are all people you know in your daily life. For those who have never been interested in opera before, this is the time to try it out.”
The School of the Arts formed in 2010, merging the Petrie School of Music, the Department of Art and Design, and the Department of Theatre and Dance. Faculty, staff and students have engaged in a year-long study and restructuring process to begin implementing the school’s mission and vision. “Our focus is on creating new collaborations that are grounded in common goals, such as building on our successful opera and theatre programs to introduce a musical theatre major next fall, and combining our strengths in interior design, theatre and writing through applications of digital technologies,” said Higgs.
The celebration involves collaborations among faculty and students from all areas of the School of the Arts. Guests are encouraged to come early to enjoy a sampling of talents showcasing music, art, theatre and dance. Friday and Saturday performances will be preceded by the showcase from 6 – 7:30 PM and followed by dessert receptions. Sunday is “Family Day” with everyone invited to dress in Western attire and special treats planned for the kids. Sunday’s performance will be preceded by a special showcase by the Lawson Academy of the Arts from 1:30 – 3 PM.
On Thursday, November 17, The Chapman Center will host an art exhibition featuring the work of Converse art majors from the Class of 2012 as part of Spartanburg’s monthly Art Walk. The exhibition will continue through the weekend celebration.
“Così fan tutte is one of the last comic operas that Mozart produced, and time has proven it to be among the most endearing,” said Becky Turner, director of Converse Opera Theatre. “Our version is sung in English and set in West Texas. The characters are all people you know in your daily life. For those who have never been interested in opera before, this is the time to try it out. Our performance is designed to shift people’s perception about opera and make it relatable and accessible to all audiences.”
The Story of Cosí fan tutte, A West Texas Comedy…Mozart Style
Picture this: You’re driving through West Texas, and you get hungry along the way. You decide to stop at a little roadside diner called “The Roasted Armadillo,” and while there, you get caught up in the antics of the waitressing sisters, “Flodalucy” and “Dorabeulla,” and their fiancés, “T-Frankie” and “Bill Bubba,” all facilitated by their friend “Darlena” and boss, “Mister Marlow.”
You might think that you have landed in a sit-com on TV, but you are actually experiencing the operatic genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. That’s right – you are watching Converse Opera Theatre’s production of Così fan tutte.
The boyfriends, who are mechanics at the local Cadillac dealership, make a bet with Mister Marlow (owner of the dealership and diner) that their sweethearts will remain true, even when tempted by intriguing “strangers.”
The two young ladies are thrown into despair as their fiancés are suddenly called away for mechanics’ training in Detroit. However, it is all part of an elaborate charade to challenge the sisters’ fidelity. The men return in disguise to woo each other’s intended, and while at first the ladies are steadfast, their resolve begins to slowly melt away.